June 23, 2021 – The Center for Peace and Advocacy (CPA), a rights group has called on the government and telecommunication companies to stop digital surveillance on South Sudanese citizens.
The government of South Sudan and telecommunications companies’ electronic surveillance include; wiretapping, bugging, videotaping, geolocation tracking such as through RFID, GPS, or cell-site data; data mining, social media mapping, and the monitoring of data and traffic on the internet.
In South Sudan, the majority of citizens especially members of the civil society have been placed under serious electronic surveillance, which has restricted their shrinking civic space and even pose threats to their lives.
In an Amnesty International report published earlier this year titled, “These Walls Have Ears” The Chilling Effect of Surveillance in South Sudan, CPA says the National Security Services deploys agents throughout the country and neighboring countries, penetrating all levels of the society in daily life.
In that report which we confirm to be correct based on personal experience in Juba, the NSS’s approval is required to hold civil society meetings, weddings, workshops hence disabling genuine dialogue.
Moreover, the NSS intelligence agents have infiltrated NGOs, the media, private sector security companies, and hotels, which creates a serious pervasive spy network. As a result, it creates an environment that infringes on freedom of opinion, expression, and privacy. To make the matters worse, the NSS employs a surveillance system that was procured from a private company called Verint Systems Ltd in Israel.
The government of South Sudan through the NSS is responsible for abusive surveillance that has had a chilling effect on human rights defenders, journalists, ordinary citizens that use electronic gadgets as well as on the government officials.
The issue of electronic surveillance began when the government of South Sudan obtained Electronic Surveillance System from the Israeli Company between 2015 and 2017 purpose for monitoring officials, private telephone, and other social media conversations.
The failure by government officials to conduct electronic surveillance activities in accordance with principles of non-arbitrariness, legality, necessity, legitimacy, and proportionality for surveillance has led to the violation of rights to privacy and shrinking civic space in this country.
Unfortunately, the legal framework governing electronic surveillance in South Sudan does not meet principles pf non-arbitrariness, legality, necessity, legitimacy, and proportionality for surveillance, the surveillance system has been used arbitrarily in South Sudan which violates the rights to privacy of all citizens as enshrined under the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (TCRSS), 2011 as amended.
Article 22 of the TRCSS, 2011 as amended provides that the privacy of all persons shall be inviolable and that no person shall be subjected to interference with his or her private life, family, home, or correspondence, save in accordance with the laws of South Sudanese.
The Center for Peace and Advocacy can be reached at on Tel: +211924538137/+211917799524.
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